Monday, 15 August 2022

YNU VC64 trip August 2022: Humberstone Bank - including lichens

The Yorkshire Naturalists Union held their vice-county 64 trip on 14 Aug 2022 to Humberstone Bank. this Farm on belonging to Yorkshire Water is in the Pennines, 6km (4 miles) north of the Blubberhouses Moor Pass (A59), at the head of Washburn Valley next to Barden Moor and to Simons Seat,

The last day of the August hot sunny spell enabled us to enjoy the purple heather at its best. The land goes, from Humberstone Bank Farm at c. 1100 ft across the "inby" and "outby" land at the head of the Washburn Valley to the moorland which  is adjacent to the moorland of  Barden Moor . 

The Yorkshire Naturalists Union organises a field day each year in each of the five Vice Counties in Yorkshire. All members of the YNU and all members of its associated 40 member societies are welcome at these.  Read more here - (as that includes The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with 45,000 members, a lot of people are eligible to come). About 18-20 people came to this meeting. What a privilege. If only more members were aware of what they are missing.

A big thank you 

  • To Sarah and Ken White who organised this visit.
  • To the Lepidoptera group (Butterflies and Moths) Who set up moth traps the previous evening and came early to count and release them
  • To the Yorkshire Water people for letting us use the teaching room and facilities
  • To the farmer Jonathan Grayshon who gave us a talk at the beginning. 

  • to Ken who had special permission to drive on the track and who give three of us a lift in his 4 by 4 to Harden Gill Beck, seeing several birds of prey - hobby, sparrowhawk and more en route;   Here we met the others who had walked there for lunch

See the book "Lichens - an illustrated guide to the British and Irish Species" in the centre.
I was pleased to meet another member of the YNU interested in lichens. Here is Ian Instone (centre) with his Frank Dobson lichen book, and myself holding a piece of Peltigera memberancea Membranous Dog Lichen - and showing it to the group. It grows under the black rucksack and on the bank we had been dangling our legs over as we sat for lunch.

This month of August 2022, members of the the British Lichen Society are holding events in memory of Frank Dobson who wrote the standard British illustrated Lichens book, but who died last year.

Ian and I also remembered to each other Albert Henderson of Leeds, a former editor of the YNU Bulletin, who died just a few years ago but who had helped both of us in our Lichen progress,

Ian looking at Porpida tuberculosa fruiting

Caloplaca holocarpa ? nearby

Ivy leaved water-crowfoot in Harden Gill Beck

Pseudevernia furfuracea on a gritstone wall

Looking down the Washburn Valley, from next to a blown over Whitebeam tree in the field at Humberstone Bank Farm.  Our lunch stream - Harden Gill Beck (far right) joins the River Washburn  (near right) which flows into Thrushcross Reservoir, then Fewston Reservoir, then Swinsty Reservoir.

The Washburn Valley is very gently v shaped, not U shaped. It formed when the adjacent valleys of the Wharfe and the Nidd contained glaciers. The water run of from the glaciers and the land in between fed the Washburn and made the valley. (I am told)

In the white field at the very centre of the picture is a newly dug "settling pond".
I had visited this last month (and found Isolepis setacea). It had certainly looked very muddy/silty. the farmer explained it was dug to collect sediment washed of the land so that the sediment could settle there. and be removed periodically, rather than being deposited in the reservoirs downstream

At the end of the day we met at the classroom/meeting room at Humberstone Bank Farm for our Reporting meeting. The four people on the right hand side are members of Craven Conservation Group. There will be a full report of the meeting in "The Naturalist" which is the journal of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union in a year or so. Also we hope tha Ken White can give a short talk about some of the things seen in a forthcoming YNU Zoom First Friday of the Month Meeting.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Lichens for All Trip -- New species at Craven Bank SD8064

SD86 - 04 - SD8064 - Above Giggleswick School Chapel - Craven Bank Lane Lichens

August 1-31 2022 is "Lichens for All Month - 

A month set up by the BLS to remember the contributions of Frank Dobson to lichenology".  The BLS is encouraging people to hold events during this month.

A small group of four had a lichen walk on Sat 6th August in Yorkshire. - Allan Pentecost, Sue and Les Knight and myself. I took us to some of my previously visited sites in SD86 including these rocks where I had been so thrilled to find Xanthoparmelia conspersa back in 2019.

So first port of call was the gritstone outcrops, scoured by the ice,  just off Craven Bank Lane, Giggleswick, above Giggleswick School. (See my trip to SD86 - 04 - SD8064 in April 2019) -  
(Although the lowest point of our walk at 140m (apart from Settle itself) these are the newest rocks - we will visit today.  Brennand (or Grassington) Grit on top of Pendleton Grit -  The base of the     millstone grit layers - 329-328 million years old. )

Here Allan showed us Aspicilia caesiocinerea, Trapelia placodioides (as well as T coarctata next to it) and Lecanora orosthea and confirmed Candelariella coralliza (round tiny squamules/grains and no fruiting bodies). 

Trapelia placodioides - and same below cropped

Trapelia placodioides cropped

We then strode 10 metres south and were into the next monad SD8063 where we recorded most of these species again. plus Lecanora crenulata

Les kindly(?) gave me a piece of  Xanthoria parietina from the wall with an lichenicolous fungus in it with nice apothecia,

There was a solitary hawthorn tree here too that had Arthopyrenia lapponina (= A analepta)

This is the NW corner of SD8063 - I described  SD8063 and the geology of the area in my post at the beginning of 2022 

Back in SD8064 on the gate by the road was some Lecanora polytropa (Allan  thought it might be L varia) then we returned to the car to collect our lunch, crossed the road and had lunch on more rocks in the field above Giggleswick School. Some of the shallow soil in the field was dead from the drought, but most had greened up with the rain the previous few days. 

At lunch  we posed with Sue's early edition Dobson

Using Sue's very old well worn Dobson


Candelariella coralliza

Aspicilia caesiocinerea

Fruiting Porpidia tuberculosa.
We put some KOH on the thallus,
dabbed it off then shone UV light on it.
See the purple colour.

Lecanora crenulata (centre)

Lecanora orosthea

Recording the Lecanora orosthea

More Aspicilia caesiocinerea (from lunch stop)

More Aspicilia caesiocinerea

Next place to visit would be Settle, before then going on to a stream flowing over "The Austwick formation" - Silurian rocks  on the road near Henside, c. three miles beyond Langcliffe 

Saturday, 30 July 2022

What did you miss at the YNU trip to Brockadale - YWT Reserve near Wentbridge this July 2022??


Clustered Bellflower growing
in the scorched meadow after
Monday and Tuesdays record
temperatures (almost 40 degrees)
Just a small selection of pictures form the wonderful day spent at Brockadale with the Yorkshire Naturalists Union on Sat 16 July 2022.

Brockadale is a YWT reserve (with an adjacent Plantlife field) on magnesian limestone on either side of the river Went. 
(Wentbridge on the A1 is nearby). Water cut through here in the last glaciation forming the steep sided valley.

The reserve is 78 miles (1hr 45min) from where I live- yet
still in the same county of
North Yorkshire.

Joyce Simmons gives an introductory talk. The YWT carpark is full, but they have arranged permission to park in a small area  the bone dry meadow next to it.

I go on a guided tour led by Joyce with Paul simmons as the backup  sweeping us with his net. Paul Simmons.  
First interesting plant is a Barberry bush in the hedgerow. This shrub is native to UK - or at least present since neolithic times. 

Barberry flowers

Barberry Rust 

Don Grant showed us some
Elm-leaved Blackberry -
Rubus ulmifolius in the hedgerow

There were two species of Astragalus that I had never seen before 

I soon got way behind, Paul obligingly waited.
We are heading for the patch of woodland ahead.

Part of the woodland had had
some conifers cleared about 7 years earlier.
Natural regeneration was taking place,
However some extra trees had been planted -
here we are looking at a planted Small-leaved Lime.

The small leaved lime has rust coloured hairs
where the veins join the main vein

It was good to take photographs of butterflies

Silver Washed Fritillary we think

Large Skipper


Meadow Brown

This is a Pretty Chalk Carpet moth that had been
caught early in the morning.
See distribution map below

Distribution of Pretty Chalk Carpet Moth
Our dot is the one just to the right of Leeds

At the bridge over the Went we stopped and looked down at the river. It is a tiny river/slow flowing stream for such a huge valley. Here is some Unbranched Bur reed- Sparganium emmersum. It rarely flowers. If you look carefully at the top left you can see a  Banded Demoiselle entering the picture

At the foot of the north facing Pantlife Meadow on the south bank of the stream

After the walk we head for   Kirk Smeaton Church where we hold th "the end of meeting tea and reporting session"

This has swift boxes built into the bell tower.  Must be a bit noisy for them, but they happily came and nested here as soon as the boxes were put in.  See the holes - some above the slats, some in the slats

 After the reports, a member Don Grant tells us about an interesting specimen he has found near where he lives, Manna Ash he has found in Wakefield.

The next Yorkshire Naturalists Field Meeting is on Sat 14 August at Humberstone Bank Farm (half way between Fewston Reservoir and Greenhow village) in Nidderdale AONB / in the Yorkshire Dales/
It is high up with rough pasture and some moorland - stretching up towards the Simon's Seat Area.
Humberstone Hub Official Web Site

Any person who is a member of a local natural history society  (including the YWT) is welcome to come on the trip

Friday, 29 July 2022

Malham Tarn Fen -1 July 2022 - Walk for the Climate

Some pictures from our walk on 1 July at Malham Tarn Fen.

This was a coolish day - before the heatwave that struck two weeks later. 

We welcomed two extra people who had seen the walk advertised in Facebook 


We saw at least 8 lizards , some in groups of three. This amazed me.
Usually we are lucky if we see one or two.
Is it because it was so cold that they did not run away?

  Euphrasia rostkoviana ssp monticola  -
Large Sticky Eyebright -
this is fairly rare -see Distribution Map 
Alan Silverside first showed me this here in the 1980s

Glad to see the bund holding this  pond on the bog is holding. The National Trust made them about ten years ago. Some Sphagna (Bog-mosses)- including S cuspidatum are growing in the pools
The original sphagnum species (Sphagnum austinii) which was forming the peat mostly over the past 5000 years up till recently died out in the Industrial revolution 200 plus years ago. .

Here is a photo of a section of a leaf of S austinii that I made in 2004, that came from pear in the peat cliff as the side of the Tarn.  You can recognise it because of the comb fibrils (spiral reinforcing fibrils clearly visible)  on the edge of the cell walls.   Prof Piggott or Mike Proctor I forget which- planted a few bits south of Spiggott Hill but I never was able to find them.